The Movie: 6.5/10
The quality of Savages is very obvious and singular. The movie looks amazing, the style, the editing, the direction of the whole vibe, the budget for special effects and stunts and certain cast members all makes a solid impression. The problem with that is when the other elements are weaker, it stops me from thoroughly enjoying the movie as a whole.
The good, as mentioned above, is the overall look and umph of the movie as an experience. It’s alive and in motion at all times with an excellent balance of tension and enough breathing time to keep up with the action. John Travolta is pretty good, particularly in the car and with Benicio Del Toro in the kitchen. Just watch and see for yourself. Del Toro is amazing AMAZING! There is no doubt he is underrated no matter how many awards or acknowledgement he gets. He’s so much better than we all think he is. Salma Hayek is the gem of the whole kit and kaboodle. She’s controlled when she needs to be, vicious when she has to be, and then lets go when the time is right both with humanity and evil. There is no doubt in my mind that Hayek is THE star of this movie.
The less good about the movie would be the rest of it. The rest of the cast always jarred me out of the “wow this is really good” feeling every scene they were all of together or were even in a scene with the other more, um, mature members of the cast. I think the contrast is very clearly there to tell the story of contracting motivations. The “younger” crew are motivated by new money, an illusion of doing some good in the world, and the freedom to live their lives without the burden of 9-5’s and rules everyone else lives by. The other side of the story are the “older” folks who have established their place in the food chain of the corrupt and violent world of drugs. Their motivation is to maintain that place, keep the security, get through the end of their lives without being cut short by stupid mistakes.
With one exception, that’s the Del Toro character. He only wants what he wants, power, being a bully, being gross and violent and sexually horrific to women. There is nothing he has in common with any of the other players, young or mature.
The action scenes are mega, well done, interesting, and lead us through the story. The story, by the way, is kind of underwhelming. A villain wants more drug money. Pot growers want to retire from the business. The law enforcement is entangled for better or worse, good or bad. The wild card, yet again, is the Del Toro insane character. He’s sweaty and disgusting and intimidating and represents that darkest side of this world perfectly.
There is enough that I did like about this movie to make it worth the time to watch it. I does not make it very memorable though. I am having a hard time putting together that mental picture of it as a whole, only bits and pieces come through just a few days later. I remember Del Toro, Hayek, Travolta, the violence, and that’s about it.
Overall it’s a high quality average movie. I say watch it if you love Oliver Stone movies, or any of the other big names tossed in there.
- Deleted Scenes – 16 minutes of deleted scenes, some interesting stuff here.
- Stone Cold Savages The Making Of The Film – This is a Five part featurette that covers the making of the movie. This is very EPKish but you do get a little insight into Mr Stones attitude onset.
- Feature Commentary’s – Two separate commentary’s one with Stone and the other with the producers and screenwriter. I liked the Oliver Stone commentary better as its quite technical and that is the part of film making I am usually interested in.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
Cover, hate it. It’s boring and expected and lazy. I wouldn’t have this as a poster in my house, obviously. The menu drags along with the whole blahness of it all, so there’s nothing to say about that part of the package. Who has decided this is the way to market your DVD’s? I suppose someone somewhere has said, “well, studies show that when we put little boxes with the cast and some words it just drives people crazy with a buying frenzy.” If that’s not happening someone somewhere needs to get their heads out of their designing backsides:)
Audio & Video: 8/10
You could call this movie Natural Born Stoners and that would also describe it quite well in terms of Oliver Stones movie universe. This is the nearest one of his films has got to the genius of Natural Born Killers and I love that about it. The 1080P 2.40:1 AVC transfer is almost perfect with amazing visuals that seem to leap off the screen. Oliver Stone uses a really vibrant palette and a lot of different techniques here. This is a crisp looking movie that will not dissapoint.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is mixed quite loud and really delivers during the action sequences. Dynamic range is very wide here so make sure you are not watching this late at night. As usual with Stone movies music is a big part of the action and the music here which ranges from 1960’s surf tunes to classical sounds great. Overall another great looking and sounding Blu-Ray from Universal.
This isn’t a movie that I need to own. I don’t feel compelled to watch it again in the future, therefore the value would level off at the price of an online or Red Box rental. If you find it laying around for 5 bucks, fine. If not, rent it and spend the rest of your movie/entertainment budget on something truly amazing like True Romance or Midnight Run.
Overall Score 6/10